Contact Us: 609-278-9622

Follow Us On:

Food Rewards Can Lead to Emotional Overeating

September 29, 2016 | Blog


By Meredith Masin Blount

Director of School Based Youth Services, New Brunswick Tomorrow
Project Director, NJPHK-New Brunswick

“If you’re good, we can get ice cream later”
“Stop fussing and you can have the chocolate”
“Finish picking up your room and we’ll get French fries”

Blount-compressorSound familiar? We’ve all heard these reasoning techniques by moms and dads who just want their kids to focus and do as they’re asked. As a mom of three boys myself, I know the importance of wanting my kids to eat healthy foods and learn to make the right choices. Unfortunately, using unhealthy foods or sweets as a reward for good behavior leads to negative effects on eating habits later on.

According to a report found on Science Daily, “parents who use very overly controlling feeding practices with their children, such as using food as a reward or a treat, could be unintentionally teaching their children to rely on food to deal with their emotions.” The study also said that using treats to reward kids can lead to poorer health later in life. Children learn to associate food with emotions and are more likely to start preferring the junk food.

Here are 5 ways to kick the junk food habit and reinforce the healthy choices:

  1. Don’t use food as a reward – go on a fun family outing instead
  2. Remember you’re a role model – pick the healthy choices first, too!
  3. Continue to give your kids healthy foods – avoid fast food places!
  4. Avoid the “clean your plate” view – kids should stop eating when they feel full.
  5. Be sure to include your kids in healthy meal making – it’s a fun activity and they’ll learn how to make healthy choices.

For more information on the effects of emotional eating and its warning signs, read the following article from

SHARE: Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail